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Wednesday, February 11, 1998

Defense gets its turn in Zamora trial

By CHRIS NEWTON / Associated Press Writer

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) -- Crime scene evidence contradicts an account former Naval midshipman Diane Zamora gave police of how she helped kill a 16-year-old girl, her attorneys tried to show Monday.

Edward Hueske, a forensic expert, testified that splattered blood on Adrianne Jones' thighs could suggest she was carried to the field where her body was found.

"It is possible that she was carried...The blood on her legs is consistent with quite a bit of handling of the body," Hueske said.

Ms. Zamora's confession in the December 1995 slaying stated Miss Jones escaped from Ms. Zamora's car through a passenger window and fled to a nearby field, where she ran into a barbed wire fence and collapsed. Ms. Zamora never mentioned that Miss Jones was carried.

But Hueske conceded under cross-examination that the blood on Miss Jones' legs also could have come from her hands, which photographs show were covered in blood.

The comments came during the defense's opening day of testimony, which several attorneys observing the case said was ineffective. Many of the witnesses called seemed to have little knowledge of the case and didn't provide testimony that suggested Ms. Zamora didn't participate in the crime, observers said.

A plastic surgeon testified that Ms. Zamora's left hand was severely injured in a car accident months before the killing, but defense attorneys never seemed to make a connection between the accident and her ability to participate in the crime.

Prosecutor's countered by confirming that Ms. Zamora was right-handed and healthy enough to pass a Naval medical exam months later.

Later, the defense called an attorney who testified that he thought the police officer who took Ms. Zamora's confession was dishonest.

But under prosecution questioning, the witness conceded he had never met the officer and was basing his opinion on a police report.

After that testimony, the defense requested an early recess Monday afternoon, prompting speculation among those watching that Ms. Zamora might take the stand early Tuesday.

"If they don't call her, they might as well fold up their tent and go home," attorney Bill Lane said after watching Monday's testimony.

A gag order on the case has kept attorneys from revealing whether they will put Ms. Zamora on the stand. If convicted, she faces life in prison.

Defense attorneys have said they will try to use possible discrepancies between evidence and Ms. Zamora's confession to show she was lying.

"We're going to show that the statement Diane made to police could not have been accurate and was given under duress," lead defense attorney John Linebarger said last week. "She did not commit capital murder."

Based largely on the written statement, prosecutors contend she helped then-fiance David Graham kill Miss Jones because of a one-time sexual encounter she had with Graham. Graham will be tried separately for capital murder later this year.

The confession is crucial for state attorneys because they're prosecuting Ms. Zamora under the "law of parties," a statute that makes any accomplice to a crime guilty of the worst offense committed in its commission.

Both sides agree that Graham allegedly fired two fatal shots at Miss Jones but prosecutors have used the confession and other evidence to show that Ms. Zamora helped by hitting Miss Jones over the head and telling Graham to shoot her when she fled.

Also Monday, defense attorneys tried to show that Ms. Zamora was led to believe by police that she was assigned a lawyer during a September 1996 interview in Annapolis, Md.

Lt. Cmdr. Patrick McCarthy testified that he was assigned to find an attorney to represent Ms. Zamora after she requested counsel.

While looking for a lawyer, McCarthy said he was told by police Ms. Zamora waived her right to one. He said that he spoke to her, but never said he was her lawyer.

"I gave her some instruction on the honor code," McCarthy said. "She wanted to know what the implications were of her telling her friends she had been involved in a murder in Texas and if it would adversely affect her career at the Naval academy. She said she had lied about the murder ... ."

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